Iowa to Wisconsin Via Field of Dreams

August 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Before leaving Amana Colonies we took a quick tour of the area nearby and came across several "small town America" spots on the map. 

 

Any bets on how much longer this barn near Norway, IA will stand? 

Norway, IA - Falling BarnNorway, IA - Falling BarnFalling barn near Norway, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Blairstowne, IA - Shack And Tracks.Blairstowne, IA - Shack And Tracks.Shack and tracks near Blairstown, Iowa.

The town of Watkins, IA is still an active farming community, but not much left.

Watkins, IA - Business BldgWatkins, IA - Business BldgThe unincorporated town of Watkins has had a post office since 1873. Today the population of this small farming community is 118 (give or take a couple). Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Watkins, IA - Main StWatkins, IA - Main StThe unincorporated town of Watkins has had a post office since 1873. Today the population of this small farming community is 118 (give or take a couple). Watkins, IA - Savings BankWatkins, IA - Savings BankThe unincorporated town of Watkins has had a post office since 1873. Today the population of this small farming community is 118 (give or take a couple). Watkins, IA - Catholic ChurchWatkins, IA - Catholic ChurchThe unincorporated town of Watkins has had a post office since 1873. Today the population of this small farming community is 118 (give or take a couple).

Ok, I'll be honest.  I can't quite determine the symbolism or history of 5 stars on a flag?  Can't find a flag like that in American History this morning, but if someone knows put it in the comments please :)

Belle Plaine, IA - Patriotic BarnBelle Plaine, IA - Patriotic BarnPatriotic barn near Belle Plaine, Iowa.

The Depot at Belle Plaine used to be a big deal. 

Belle Plaine, IA - DepotBelle Plaine, IA - DepotBelle Plaine was established in 1862 as a railroad town. It's also on the historic Lincoln Highway. Belle Plaine, IA - Depot - 2Belle Plaine, IA - Depot - 2Belle Plaine was established in 1862 as a railroad town. It's also on the historic Lincoln Highway.

Belle Plaine, IA has some great history dating back to 1862, and is not only on the historic Lincoln Highway, but also the cross country tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. 

Belle Plaine, IA - Main StBelle Plaine, IA - Main StBelle Plaine was established in 1862 as a railroad town. It's also on the historic Lincoln Highway.

The old King Theatre in Belle Plain appears to still be in operation. 

Belle Plain, IA - TheatreBelle Plain, IA - TheatreBelle Plaine was established in 1862 as a railroad town. It's also on the historic Lincoln Highway. The old King Theatre appears to still be open. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Koszta, IA - ChurchKoszta, IA - ChurchKoszta is another pre-1900 town and this church caught our eye on the way through. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

After leaving Amana Colonies we skirted Cedar Rapids and made our sites on Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams movie site which just celebrated the 25 year anniversary of the Kevin Costner classic.  Due to restrictions by the owners of the farm, these images will not be for sale.  But it was a GREAT stop and one we highly recommend!! (Free to visit, but plenty there to purchase)

Dyersville, IA -  Field of Dreams SignDyersville, IA - Field of Dreams SignThe Field of Dreams Movie Site just outside of Dyersville Iowa was created for the now classic Kevin Costner movie in 1988 on farm land owned by the Lansing family since 1906.

It was so dry that year they had to dam a creek to irrigate the land. They also had to bring in seven trucks worth of sod to create the field.
The Lansing home was remodeled with walls removed to make more space for filming while the family was moved on the other side of the house into a camper trailer.

Today you can visit the site for free and enjoy the same rich green ball field as seen in the movie.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander. This image is under restricted use and not for commercial purposes.
Dyersville, IA - Field of DreamsDyersville, IA - Field of DreamsThe Field of Dreams Movie Site just outside of Dyersville Iowa was created for the now classic Kevin Costner movie in 1988 on farm land owned by the Lansing family since 1906.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. This image is under restricted use and not for commercial purposes.
Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 2Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 2Field of Dreams bleachers.

This image is under restricted use and not for commercial purposes.
Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 3Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 3Field of Dreams house.

This image is under restricted use and not for commercial purposes.
Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 4Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams - 4The Field of Dreams House and Ballfield.

This image is under restricted use and not for commercial purposes.

Kathy fading into the corn with a local that was a ball player in the movie in this little video :P (would love to find his name, we didn't catch it). 

Dyersville, IA - Kathy and Player Fade Away at Field of DreamsKathy having fun in the corn at the Field of Dreams near Dyersville, Iowa

After arriving at Pikes Pike State Park on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, we awoke the next morning to rain, but made the best of the morning we could and headed into Prairie du Chien Wisconsin for a bit of history, like this Block House at Villa Louis Estate, established in the mid 1800's. 

Prairie du Chien, WI - Villa Louis Block HousePrairie du Chien, WI - Villa Louis Block HousePrairie Du Chien, the oldest settlement on the Upper Mississippi River, and the second oldest city in the state of Wisconsin, has roots dating back to the late 1600's and the French-Canadian Fur Trade.

One of the big attractions on St. Feriole Island in Prairie du Chien is Villa Louis, a Victorian country estate established in the 1840's by Hercules Dousman, a local fur trader and entrepreneur. The house that still stands here was built by his son Louis in 1870, and is open to the public for tours under the management of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

With over 90 percent of its original furnishings, and a recent restoration to recreate its 1890's appearance, Villa Louis is one of the Midwest's great house museums (open early May through late October).

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

St. Friole Island at Praire du Chien has more than just the Villa Louis

Prairie du Chien, WI - St. Feriole Island Depot BarPrairie du Chien, WI - St. Feriole Island Depot BarSt. Feriole Island was the city's earliest hub of activity, and was also the site of the Battle of Prairie du Chien in 1814, Wisconsin's only battle in the War of 1812.

After the war, the government built Fort Crawford here as part of a chain of forts to secure the U.S. Frontier, and it would become the site of many treaties with Native Americans. It would later be relocated off the Island.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Prairie du Chien, WI - St. Feriole Island BldgPrairie du Chien, WI - St. Feriole Island BldgSt. Feriole Island was the city's earliest hub of activity, and was also the site of the Battle of Prairie du Chien in 1814, Wisconsin's only battle in the War of 1812.

After the war, the government built Fort Crawford here as part of a chain of forts to secure the U.S. Frontier, and it would become the site of many treaties with Native American's. It would later be relocated off the Island.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Just down the way from St. Friole Island sits historic Fort Crawford.

Prairie du Chien, WI - Ft. Crawford HospitalPrairie du Chien, WI - Ft. Crawford HospitalPrairie Du Chien, the oldest settlement on the Upper Mississippi River, and the second oldest city in the state of Wisconsin, has roots dating back to the late 1600's and the French-Canadian Fur Trade.

After the War of 1812, the government built Fort Crawford here as part of a chain of forts to secure the U.S. Frontier, and it would become the site of many treaties with Native Americans.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The rain gave into Fog along the Mississippi River. 

Prairie du Chien, WI - River FogPrairie du Chien, WI - River FogPrairie Du Chien, the oldest settlement on the Upper Mississippi River, and the second oldest city in the state of Wisconsin, has roots dating back to the late 1600's and the French-Canadian Fur Trade on the Mississippi River. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The overlook at Pikes Pike State Park in Iowa is absolutely gorgeous and shows the Wisconsin River meeting the Mighty Mississippi. 

Pikes Peak State Park, IA - Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers MeetPikes Peak State Park, IA - Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers MeetPikes Peak State Park, Iowa, features a 500-foot bluff overlooking the Upper Mississippi River opposite the confluence of the Wisconsin River.

It gets its name from the Iowa incarnation of Pikes Peak, a particularly high point overlooking the gorge of the Upper Mississippi, and like Pikes Peak in Colorado, is named for Zebulon Pike.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

McGregor has a rich history of Fur Trading on the River dating back to the early 1800's.

McGregor, IA - DowntownMcGregor, IA - DowntownFounded as MacGregor's Landing in 1847, the area was original settled by Alexander MacGregor, a direct decedent of Rob Roy MacGregor of Scotland, who had operated a ferry here a decade before the town as established in 1857 as McGregor.

During its height, McGregor had over 5,000 residents, with many working for the railroad. They would dis-assemble trains and ferry them across the Mississippi into Prairie du Chien.

to by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Will have to check on my lineage :)

McGregor, IA - Alexander HotelMcGregor, IA - Alexander HotelFounded as MacGregor's Landing in 1847, the area was original settled by Alexander MacGregor, a direct decedent of Rob Roy MacGregor of Scotland, who had operated a ferry here a decade before the town as established. The town was incorporated as McGregor in 1857.

The Alexander Hotel, originally the Lewis Hotel, was built in 1899. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The bridge from Marquette, Ia into Wisconsin.

Marquette, IA - Bridge To WisconsinMarquette, IA - Bridge To WisconsinMarquette, originally named North McGregor, acted as the rail hub to dis-assemble trains for the ferry.

During the city's peak, the population exploded to over 5,500 and was the busiest shipping port west of Chicago during the 1870's. However the city would decline just about as fast as it grew when a permanent pontoon bridge was built to connect McGregor and Prairie du Chien, eliminating the need to disassemble the trains, and thus many of the jobs. Today, McGregor and Marquette have kept their historic charm, but the city has a population of less than a thousand.

Photo by
Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Marquette used to be North McGregor, and was the rail hub where they would dis-assemble trains and ferry them across the river. 

Marquette, IA - Cafe & BarMarquette, IA - Cafe & BarCafe and bar in Marquette, Iowa. to by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The Great River Road north of McGregor, Iowa.

Great River Road, IA - North of McGregorGreat River Road, IA - North of McGregorThe Great River Road north of McGregor, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Well now, you don't see Trailer Houses on stilts everyday, but being by the Mississippi has its requirements. 

Great River Road, IA - Down By RiverGreat River Road, IA - Down By RiverDown by the Mississippi on the Great River Road between McGregor and Lansing, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Harpers Ferry Iowa, not to be confused with historic Harpers Ferry West Virginia, but old none the less. 

Harpers Ferry, IA - WelcomeHarpers Ferry, IA - WelcomeWlcome to Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Kathy giggled when we pulled into a gas station in Harpers Ferry and saw this wooden Pop machine. 

Harpers Ferry, IA - Wood Front Pop MachineHarpers Ferry, IA - Wood Front Pop MachineA pop machine with a wooden front in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Lansing Iowa is named after the guy who founded the settlement, who happened to be from Lansing Michigan. 

Lansing, IA - ViewLansing, IA - ViewView of Lansing, Iowa and the Mississippi River. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Lots of barge traffic on the river. 

Lansing, IA - Mississippi River BargeLansing, IA - Mississippi River BargePhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The historic Stone School in Lansing was built in 1861. 

Lansing, IA - 1862 Stone SchoolLansing, IA - 1862 Stone School1862 stone school house in Lansing, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Lansing, IA - DowntownLansing, IA - DowntownDowntown business district in Lansing, Iowa. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Kathy see's danger in having these tracks along the road. 

Lansing, IA - Danger ZoneLansing, IA - Danger ZoneKathy can't get over how close the tracks are to the road that runs with it. In fact, it appeared that the tracks were part of the road in parts. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The metal Blackhawk Bridge out of Lansing to Wisconsin was built in the early 1930's. 

Lansing, IA - 1931 Blackhawk Bridge to WisconsinLansing, IA - 1931 Blackhawk Bridge to Wisconsin1931 Blackhawk Bridge to Wisconsin from Lansing, Iowa.

Views from the Great River Road on the Wisconsin side were wonderful!

Ferryville, WI - Mississippi River (Lake)Ferryville, WI - Mississippi River (Lake)Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Great River Road, WI - South of FerryvilleGreat River Road, WI - South of FerryvilleGreat River Road south of Ferryville, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Great River Road, WI - South of LynxvilleGreat River Road, WI - South of LynxvilleGreat River Road south of Lynxville, Wisconsin. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Read about this portion of our adventure and the history of the area in our Travel Blog HERE.  


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